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View Diary: A Great Democrat: Nydia Velazquez (NY-12) (16 comments)

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  •  14th Congressional District of Illinois (none)
    I had the dishonor of having Dennis Hastert as my Congressman.  
    •  look on the bright side (none)
      I'm sure the Speaker makes sure to deliver plenty of pork to you folks!
      •  Inside Hastert Inc. (none)
        I written a previous diary about Dennis Hastert and the pork we get out here.  

        Hastert Directs Millions to Birthplace

        Hastert has earmarked $24 million in grants for Aurora-based nonprofit groups since becoming speaker in 1999, using an obscure section of the big federal spending bills passed each year. [...]

        Hastert's office is one of those that has taken full advantage of this opportunity, an analysis of recent spending legislation shows. He has used earmarks to get $3.2 million for a National Guard armory in Aurora and $7.5 million for a library at Judson College in Elgin.

        The funds for Judson College, which describes itself as an evangelical Christian school, were tucked into a section of the Department of Energy's appropriation for "biological and energy research." A Hastert news release explained that the library would be a "green" structure that would "cut down on fossil fuel costs and make the most of alternative natural resources." [...]

        The account has brought a steady stream of taxpayer dollars back to Aurora, a rapidly growing community of 150,000. Beginning in 2000, it has contained 10 earmarks for Aurora nonprofits, including about $540,000 in last fall's spending bill for the Visiting Nurses Association of Aurora.

        Aurora's $24 million accounts for about 1.7 percent of the $1.4 billion earmarked in the health resources account through 2004. An equal division of the funds among all 435 House districts would have given each about $3.2 million.

        In addition to the money for Aurora University and Rush-Copley Medical Center, there was $3.4 million to purchase movable equipment for a surgical expansion at Provena Mercy Medical Center, where Hastert aide Lulu Blacksmith was manager of community outreach until three years ago [...]

        Now Provena is seeking $1.5 million for a mental health initiative. But Meyer said even when your representative is the most powerful member of the House, there are no guarantees. "It's like Yogi Berra said, you don't have it until you have it."

        There is every sign that Hastert's door remains open to Aurora. On May 9, the speaker sponsored a "grant writing workshop" in the city, aimed at "helping area not-for-profit and other organizations [get] better access to federal dollars."

        I voted against him 2000, 2002 and 2004. I will vote against him in any future elections. He might be good pork money wises for the district, but this House leadership is bad for Whole USA.

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